Essential supports for first-time buyers on the local property market

First-time buyers availing of the government’s two main help-to-buy schemes dominated the Irish mortgage market last year, accounting for 61 percent of the transactions, a new report by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI ) has indicated.

Buying your first home is a big deal. The Help to Buy Scheme and the First Home Scheme are the government's two main support schemes for first-time buyers in Ireland. These schemes are making a huge difference in giving more people that boost they need to get their dream home.

Help to Buy Scheme

The Help to Buy (HTB ) Scheme helps first-time buyers purchase a newly-built house or apartment. You can also get it for once-off self-build homes. It only applies to properties that cost €500,000 or less.

The Help to Buy Scheme gives a refund of the income tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT ) you have paid in Ireland for the four years before the year you apply. To qualify you must be a first-time buyer who buys or self-builds a new residential property between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2025.

To qualify, you must take out a mortgage with a qualifying lender. The mortgage must be at least 70% of the purchase value of the property if you are buying a newly built home and of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider, if you are building your home.

You must live in the property for at least five years from the date that it is habitable. You will have to pay the HTB payment back if you do not live there for five years.

First Home Scheme

The First Home Scheme (FHS ) is an affordable housing scheme, which supports you to buy a new home or to build your first home.

The FHS is a shared equity scheme. This means that the government and participating banks pay up to 30% of the cost of your new home in return for a stake in the home. If you want, you can buy back the stake at any time, but you don’t have to.

The scheme is available nationwide for first-time buyers and certain other people who want to buy a new home, people who want to build their first home on their own site, and certain other people who want to build a new home, and people who want to buy the home they are renting because their landlord is selling the property. This version of the FHS is known as the Tenant Home Purchase Scheme.

 

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